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At the Cottage

by Edward Ahern

There was no measure of the day at the cottage.
Water rustled over glacier rocks along the shore,
The sound soft or loud at the whim of the waves,
The rhythm slower with bigger swells from the lake,
The iron water glistening the multicolored stones
That our pausing to admire drew mosquitos.

The rent we paid was the blood we gave to mosquitos
So we could see gray-painted dusk at the cottage
With blues and greens wiped from the face of the lake.
The forest kept its silence so the waves
Could play the instruments along the shore
And let us hear the personalities of the stones.

Some made from death, some made from fire, the stones
Sheltered life but turned away mosquitos,
Who could not breed in moving water at the cottage
And were driven into the forest by the waves
That protected only their own within the lake
And guarded against the land along the shore.

The trees tendrilled close to ice outs along the shore
And roots cuddled until they could split the stones
And give the water pockets to the mosquitos
The woods bunched thick behind the cottage
Deadfall and live growth muffling the sound of waves
And spurning any memory of lake.

As cold June nights wedded the chills of the lake,
The unseen sounds came closer from along the shore
And, from the woods, the hidden hum of mosquitos
Was static in the music of the stones
That shifted and played in front of the cottage
In time with the dulcet beating of the waves.

Even in pauses of calm, tiny waves
Snuck outward from a waveless lake
And pattered like ferret feet along the shore.
And stirring in their sleep, the stones
Made less noise than the windless mosquitos.
Who feasted on us at the cottage.

Stones still creep from depth to decorate the shore,
And waves write memoirs about the moody lake,
And children of my mosquitos wait for me at the cottage.

Copyright © 2017 by Edward Ahern

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